Ontario fines PointsBet and BetMGM for regulatory violations

by Ralph Trayfalgar Updated:

Ontario’s regulated online gambling market has only been around for a month, but the province’s regulator has already fined operators PointsBet and BetMGM for skirting the rules. 

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) fined the two companies after failing to follow the regulations on advertising and bonusing. BetMGM and PointsBet have been ordered to pay $48,000 and $30,000, respectively.

AGCO’s grounds for the fines were derived from the Standards for Internet Gaming Code of Conduct; BetMGM was found to have been in violation of Sections 2.04 and 2.05, while PointsBet violated Section 2.05. 

Section 2.04 bans gaming enterprises from promoting "gambling inducements” (i.e. bonuses and credits) to players without their consent. This, however, frequently occurs after account registration rather than before.

AGCO stated that BetMGM was found in violation over three distinct tweets, including one that advertised a $240K Launch Party and two others that provided $10 and $25 betting bonus credits.

Although BetMGM and PointsBet are not affiliated with any form of offshore activity, Ontario has enabled Canadian gambling sites without licenses to target the province and provide these inducements without fear of repercussions for several years. Because of this, corporations may have had an incorrect impression of how flexible Ontario's regulations would be, but the current sanctions will establish a tone that is consistent with the province's declared Code of Conduct for gaming enterprises.

Both firms acted quickly to rectify the problem and ensure Ontario players that similar incidents would not occur again. PointsBet Canada CEO Scott Vanderwel offered a public apology for the firm's failure to adhere to the requirements and stated that the company will take steps to guarantee that it does so in the future.

AGCO reminded stakeholders that any advertisement must be truthful, and as a result, BetMGM's incentive fell short of the mark in this regard. AGCO CEO Tom Mungham affirmed that all registered and licensed stakeholders will be required to adhere to the advertising standards established by the authority and to fulfill their contractual duties as well. 

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